Surreal Moment – January 1, 2017 Klamath Falls, OR.
I know a lot of people spent a fair amount of time in 2016 wishing the whole year would die in a fire. And I know a lot of people are entering 2017 with trepidation. I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrating both. 2016 – The Year I Got a Book Deal and 2017 – The Year My Book Comes Out.
I have to admit, I’m filling a little bit giddy over here thinking that in just four months my novel is going to be in bookstores and libraries and (fingers crossed) in the hands of happy readers.
I’m running into 2017 bright-eyed and busy-tailed. I hope you’ll be joining me.
The lovely and talented Melissa Roske interviewed me for her blog series – Ask the Author. Melissa’s questions came straight from The Proust Questionnaire – and when she’s says she’s putting you in the hot seat, she’s not lying.
Surreal Moment – November 30, 2016
Klamath Falls, OR.
I had a marketing call – with my agent, my editor, and the marketing person at Albert Whitman. They told me all the exciting things they have planned like ARCs, and blurbs, and reviews, and even a place on the table at ALA in January. Then they gave me a list of people – real people – in charge of publicity and marketing and social media for my little book. They even gave me their email addresses – so they actually want me to contact them. I feel like I’ve crossed through some secret passage into the publishing world.
April 25, 2017 is getting close, y’all. Can you believe it?
I had such high hopes on November 1st. Hopes for bursts of inspiration. Hopes for daily writing. Hopes for a complete draft of the novel I have been struggling with all year.
Then I had middling hopes. Hopes that I could manage to pull the great ideas I have for this book a little closer. Hopes that the plot would come together somehow. Hopes that I could hit the voice I’ve been aiming for, that I could nail the characters that I know are in there, that I could find the funny and maybe-kind-of sad story that seems to be hovering just out of reach.
Near November 28th I had low hopes. Hopes for just a few more sentences. Hopes for just a single word that sounded real and true and maybe kind of close to the thing that’s been living in my head.
And at the end I had desperate hopes. Hopes for a magical burst of inspiration and clarity. Hopes for a visit from the genius Elizabeth Gilbert mentions in her Ted Talk. Hopes for a whirling dervish of words and ideas that would spin this novel into its possible self – full and complete, and well, just a little bit wonderful.
The genius never showed – or rather, the genius showed – just not in the cobbler’s elves way I had hoped for. So instead of 50,000 incredible, magical words, I ended up with around 20,000 words and several pages of notes that together I think might lead to a complete – and maybe even good – new novel.
So, I failed NanoWriMo. But my NanoWriMo failure – though painfully real – ended up being a bit of an win for my new book. Not an easy fairy dust kind of win. Not by a long shot. But maybe one that’s a bit inspired – the way something built and torn apart and built again is somehow made better by the sweat and tears and little bit of blood required to create it.
I got to meet the super fantastic Laura Shovan and the three of us talked about our wacky weird journeys from writer to published author. We covered everything from writing the first draft to getting a publishing deal – and all the joys and frustrations in between.
It was fun. Fun to be part of – and extra fun to hear Janet and Laura present. As Sweet Sixteeners, they are pros at this – so in addition to getting to sit at the table with them, I got to watch how they do this whole author presentation thing. And I learned a lot.
Surreal Moment – October 20, 2016 Fly the Point. Draper, Utah.
I’m reading through the Swanky Seventeens Facebook group where one of the author’s mentioned she just found her book up on Amazon. So I click over to Amazon and type in The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan – because why not? AND IT’S THERE. With my name and a bio I don’t remember writing and a PUBLICATION DATE and a PREORDER LINK.
PEOPLE CAN ORDER MY BOOK you all!
A thought that immediately makes me feel like throwing up.
I am standing outside the door of a hotel conference room having an *actual conversation with TWO New York Times Best Selling Authors about cover art – theirs and MINE.
*Note to readers: an actual conversation means I’m an active participant. I’m not just standing silently, smiling and nodding. I’m saying real things that make other people nod and smile and say real things back. Un-freaking-real, right?!
There are a lot of firsts when you are a debut author. First call from an agent. First chat with an editor. First time your name and picture appear in Publisher’s Weekly. First time you see a cover sketch for you book. First time you see your name on Goodreads and Amazon and Powells. And all of it is heart-racing, jaw-dropping amazing. And terrifying. And unreal.
Still, you’re expected to be a professional. To hold up your end of the deal. Your part of the conversation or presentation or panel discussion. To simply do the work. So that’s what you do, and you do it all perfectly normally and appropriately. Or at least you seem to. Because inside – another part of you – a much more real part of you – is jumping up and down, screeching and poking you in the ribs. “Can you believe this?!” this part is screaming. “Are you paying attention?!” “Is this really freaking happening?!”
I had one such experience at a conference I was at recently. A part of me was chatting and talking and nodding along – making perfect sense, while the rest of me was floating above the room trying to take a mental picture of what was happening so I could treasure it forever. Which is why I’ve decided to start recording these events here on my blog, in a little series I’m going to call Surreal Moments in a Debut Author’s Life. That way all those little “Oh my God this is really happening” moments can have a place to express themselves and their excitement as inappropriately and unprofessionally as they want.
Because, let’s face it, I’ve never been terribly cool – and I really don’t think that’s suddenly going to change now.
My edit letter arrived today! I’m super excited, a little scared, and about to burst with the desire to dig in and make this the best book I can.
I printed the whole thing out (sorry trees – I’m planting two of you guys in the spring, I promise), highlighted, sticky-noted, and am now ready to cut, trim, clarify, and rethink. The best thing is that my editor, Kristin, is totally in sync with my vision. Her questions are great, her suggestions are spot on, and I am so excited to tear into this book again.
(The second best thing is that after reading the whole novel again, I still like it – phew).
If you need me, I’ll be at my desk. Send chocolates and coffee, good thoughts, and maybe a glass of wine or two. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.